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Property rights in a very poor country : tenure insecurity and investment in Ethiopia

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  • Ali, Daniel Ayalew
  • Dercon, Stefan
  • Gautam, Madhur

Abstract

This paper provides evidence from one of the poorest countries of the world that the property rights matter for efficiency, investment, and growth. With all land state-owned, the threat of land redistribution never appears far off the agenda. Land rental and leasing have been made legal, but transfer rights remain restricted and the perception of continuing tenure insecurity remains quite strong. Using a unique panel data set, this study investigates whether transfer rights and tenure insecurity affect household investment decisions, focusing on trees and shrubs. The panel data estimates suggest that limited perceived transfer rights, and the threat of expropriation, negatively affect long-term investment in Ethiopian agriculture, contributing to the low returns from land and perpetuating low growth and poverty.

Suggested Citation

  • Ali, Daniel Ayalew & Dercon, Stefan & Gautam, Madhur, 2007. "Property rights in a very poor country : tenure insecurity and investment in Ethiopia," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4363, The World Bank.
  • Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:4363
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    Cited by:

    1. Klaus Deininger & Daniel Ayalew Ali & Takashi Yamano, 2008. "Legal Knowledge and Economic Development: The Case of Land Rights in Uganda," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 84(4), pages 593-619.
    2. Eskander, Shaikh M.S.U. & Barbier, Edward B., 2017. "Tenure Security, Human Capital and Soil Conservation in an Overlapping Generation Rural Economy," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 135(C), pages 176-185.
    3. Gottlieb, Charles & Grobovsek, Jan, 2015. "Communal land and agricultural productivity," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 86311, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    4. Patrick Honohan & Thorsten Beck, 2007. "Making Finance Work for Africa," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 6626, June.
    5. Fenske, James, 2011. "Land tenure and investment incentives: Evidence from West Africa," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 95(2), pages 137-156, July.
    6. Matz, Julia Anna, 2013. "Ethnicity, Marriage and Family Income," Discussion Papers 154935, University of Bonn, Center for Development Research (ZEF).
    7. Muna Shifa & Murray Leibbrandt & Martin Wittenberg, 2015. "Does tenure insecurity explain the variations in land-related investment decisions in rural Ethiopia?," SALDRU Working Papers 150, Southern Africa Labour and Development Research Unit, University of Cape Town.
    8. Ghebru, Hosaena & Khan, Huma & Lambrecht, Isabel, 2016. "Perceived land tenure security and rural transformation: Empirical evidence from Ghana:," IFPRI discussion papers 1545, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    9. Josephson, Anna Leigh & Ricker-Gilbert, Jacob & Florax, Raymond J.G.M., 2014. "How does population density influence agricultural intensification and productivity? Evidence from Ethiopia," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 48(C), pages 142-152.
    10. Jin, Songqing & Deininger, Klaus, 2009. "Land rental markets in the process of rural structural transformation: Productivity and equity impacts from China," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 37(4), pages 629-646, December.
    11. Hanjra, Munir A. & Ferede, Tadele & Gutta, Debel Gemechu, 2009. "Pathways to breaking the poverty trap in Ethiopia: Investments in agricultural water, education, and markets," Agricultural Water Management, Elsevier, vol. 96(11), pages 1596-1604, November.
    12. Anthony Harris, 2015. "Expropriation, compensation and transitions to new livelihoods: Evidence from an expropriation in Ethiopia," CSAE Working Paper Series 2015-04, Centre for the Study of African Economies, University of Oxford.
    13. repec:oxf:wpaper:wps/2015-04 is not listed on IDEAS
    14. Jianjun Tang & Henk Folmer & Arno J. Vlist & Jianhong Xue, 2014. "The impacts of management reform on irrigation water use efficiency in the Guanzhong plain, China," Papers in Regional Science, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 93(2), pages 455-475, June.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Common Property Resource Development; Forestry; Municipal Housing and Land; Rural Development Knowledge&Information Systems; Urban Housing;

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